TRANSFER RUMOURS: What club is Michael Keane for?
What club is Michael Keane set to sign for in the summer?
The news has come out over the past few days that Burnley central defender Michael Keane, is set to leave the club at the end of the season. The highly rated centre back has attracted a load of attention from some big names, so it got us thinking, where is he going to end up?
The 24-year-old has been in sublime form this season with Sean Dyche’s side, as his form at the back continues to keep Burnley adrift of a Premier League relegation dog fight. His form, which has seen the Clarets keep 12 clean sheets in his 37 league and cup appearances this season, has since seen him earn his first England caps under Gareth Southgate. He was thrown into the deep end when he made his debut against Germany at the Westfalenstadion back in March. The three lions were narrowly beaten one nil due to a Lukas Podolski screamer in his final ever game, but Keane didn’t look out of place at all in a back three along with Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill.
Keane’s Burnley deal ends in June 2018 and he has resisted the club’s offer to tie him down with a new contract, which would make him the Clarets’ highest-ever earner. It is understood the centre-half would like to leave at the end of the season, but is prepared to run down his Burnley contract unless he gets the transfer he wants. What’s important for them is that they get the right fee for him, which we believe would be a around the £20-£25m mark. We’re going to take a look at where we believe he might end up.
Could he make a return to his old club? The defender quit United in September 2014 to move to Turf Moor because his first-team prospects were limited at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal. It has been reported that Jose Mourinho has noticed Keane’s rise into the national team and is very interested in bringing him back to the club. The boyhood Red came through the ranks at Manchester United and it seems like a return to Old Trafford as a first team regular would be a dream for him.
So the question of where he would fit in. This move would make sense for him, he wouldn’t have to up sticks and move to the other side of the country. He already knows the club inside out and would slot straight back into the routine of being a Manchester United player. In terms of who he’d play with, when fit their first choice centre back is Eric Bailly. Now with him being only 23 years old himself, the Red’s would have a defensive partnership with a huge future ahead of them. Looking at the other defensive options, England duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones will already know him and his game. This could be a huge positive for the National team as well as at club level.
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It’s been common knowledge for quite a while that Toffees gaffer Ronald Koeman has been a long-term fan of Keane. He’s even come out in interviews and said he has “a great future ahead of him”. He’s openly admitted that he is a name on his potential signings list for the summer, so with the imminent departure news, it would’ve been music to Dutchman’s ears. Another player on that list is apparently Southampton central defender Virgil van Dijk, but with Chelsea, Liverpool & Manchester City also keen, Everton are expected to miss out on the Saints man. That means Michael Keane could become their priority defensive target.
So looking at where he’d fit into the Everton side. Club captain Phil Jagielka is an extremely experienced English central defender, one which Keane could learn a lot from. The 34-year-old is coming to the end of his career meaning you’d imagine Ashley Williams would be Keane’s regular partner. But just having someone like Jagielka around could do him the world of good.
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Just down the road from the Toffees, it’s been reported that Liverpool are also taking an interested in the young English defender. It can certainly be argued that centre-back is high on Jurgen Klopp‘s list of summer priorities, with Liverpool struggling for consistency in defence this season. Joel Matip is established as one of Klopp’s first-choice options at the back, but while Dejan Lovren has been preferred alongside the Cameroonian, his injury problems are a concern. Ragnar Klavan, Lucas Leiva and Joe Gomez are their other candidates, therefore signing Keane would certainly bolster the ranks. However the issue with this is that when they have all defensive options fit, would he be first choice? After quitting Old Trafford due to lack of first-team opportunities, would he be happy to sign for another club where he’s just a squad player?
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Chelsea – The title favourites are an outside tip for his next destination. One thing that may have gave this move more of a chance, is that it’s been announced this week that John Terry is to depart the club after 22 years there. However with them already having David Luiz, Gary Cahill & Kurt Zouma at the back, Keane wouldn’t be guaranteed much game time.
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Manchester City – Now Pep Guardiola’s side are one of the clubs who are suffering with defensive issues. With Vincent Kompany consistently out from injury and Nicolás Otamendi often being a liability, they are definitely going to address that issue in the summer. And it isn’t like they have to worry about the price tag either. But with John Stones already a similar sort of player to Keane, it’s unlikely that he will be a priority target. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them dig deep and try an audacious bid for one of Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus.
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Stay at Burnley – Now there is always the chance that he stays at Burnley until his contract runs out at the end of this season. With all the interest from the big clubs, we believe that would be highly unlikely. But he has actually been quoted saying he would be open to playing out his contract until the right offer comes in for him.
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